(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/6/2003) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the FBI to investigate an attack Sunday on a Muslim woman in Virginia as a possible hate crime.
The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said the woman, who was wearing an Islamic head scarf, was attacked from behind in a K-Mart parking lot in Springfield, Va. The white male teenage attacker allegedly shouted, "you terrorist pig," before running away.

The 47-year-old convert to Islam was treated at a local hospital for a 2-3 inch deep wound on her lower back. She was released from the hospital later that same day. Lt. Butch Gamble of the Fairfax County Police Department told CAIR the incident is being treated as an "apparent bias crime.' (Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131 or Crime Solvers at 703-691-8888.)

"Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in Islamophobic attacks that parallels the ongoing right-wing campaign to demonize Muslims and Islam," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "This smear campaign is having an impact on those in our society vulnerable to the siren song of hatred and prejudice. As we have requested many times in the past, elected officials and other opinion leaders must speak out against this, and all other forms of religious intolerance."

Since the beginning of the year, CAIR has received a number of reports of physical assaults against American Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslim) and Islamic institutions. Those incidents included a recent arson attack on a Georgia mosque, a cross burning at a Maryland Islamic school, the kidnapping and beating of a Massachusetts pizza delivery man whose attackers thought he was Muslim, and the shooting of a Sikh man in Arizona who may have been mistaken for an Arab. Similar incidents have been reported in a number of other states.

Last month, CAIR demanded that federal terrorism charges be brought against an Illinois man who got off with just two years probation and "anger management" classes after he bombed a Muslim family's van. In Florida, a man was sentenced to just 12 years in prison for plotting to attack some 50 Islamic institutions in that state. CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 16 offices nationwide and in Canada.

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CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: cair@cair-net.org; Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair-net.org